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Litchfield MN 55355

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Free test prep resources online for Minnesotans

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Do you know a high school junior who is getting ready to take the ACT?  Or someone who is preparing for the ASVAB, the nursing school entrance exam, or even their citizenship test?  The Electronic Library for Minnesota has a new free resource available online to help with all of these tests.

The LearningExpress Library is a test prep database available as part of the Electronic Library for Minnesota, or ELM, which you can access at www.elm4you.org.  ELM is a vast resource for Minnesota residents, made available by the State Library Services agency and Minitex, the resource-sharing network that brings you materials borrowed from libraries throughout the state. 

ELM includes many, many databases that you otherwise could not access for free on the internet.  Now and then you have to enter your library card number to use it, but most of the time the system can detect that you’re accessing it from within the state of Minnesota and will not ask for that. 

On ELM, you can search the Star Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports, and many other publications.  You can search academic journals that you can use to write a college paper.  Miss those encyclopedia sets?  You can search Encyclopedia Britannica, even choosing the age range of the person using it: from Britannica Learning Zone for second grade and younger, all the way to Britannica Academic for college. 

Speaking of college, the college entrance exam resources in the LearningExpress Library are great free resources for your high school student.  There are sample tests and preparation modules for the ACT, SAT, and PSAT.  I made my high schooler go through some of the short lessons and exercises each time before he took the ACT, and we really think it made a difference.  Taking a practice test can be somewhat painful, but the modules on individual topics are short and manageable.  It’s far, far easier than using a test prep book, and did I mention it’s free?

Some of our customers will be happy to learn that there are test prep resources on the LearningExpress site for the Accuplacer test, the GRE, and the GED.  And like I mentioned earlier, there are modules for the nursing school entrance exam, the ASVAB, and many other tests.

If you need some guided practice using a computer, the internet, or Microsoft programs, the site has tutorials on those things, as well.  You might need someone who is more familiar with computers to get you started on the site, but then you can watch videos and do some guided practice.  They even have training on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. 


We are very lucky to have a state library organization that makes these high-quality databases available to all of us.  I encourage you to try out ELM and explore the resources available to you.